There are many indicators for us to observe whether there is an economic boom; the box office has now become one of the economic indicators. Nevertheless, the indicator is in reverse relation to the economy, because when the economy is bad, the movie industry, on the contrary, is good. Observing the recently released film, “The Dark Knight,” which has already raked in hundreds of millions of dollars, we can tell that the U.S. economy is in bad shape.

As U.S. president George W. Bush shouted, “It is now time for us to meet economic challenges,” and the unemployment rate reached 5.6 percent amid a recession crisis, the box office continued to climb up without being greatly affected. What a delight to the film company; “The Dark Knight” has already made 447 million dollars since it was first released on the market.

The U.S. film industry noted that despite the economic downturns, people still go out to the cinema. This spectacular phenomenon, in which people are willing to spend money on movies even in times of economic woe, in fact, can be traced back as early as the Great Depression in 1903. Furthermore, in 1982, while the U.S. suffered a 10.8 percent unemployment rate, the film “E.T.” hit a 16-week box office champion record, with ticket sales totaling 435 million dollars. The dividends alone paid to the film's director Stephen Spielberg were as much as half a million U.S. dollars, an equivalent of 15 million N.T. dollars, per day.

In addition, while the U.S. suffered the 911 terrorist attacks with the unemployment rate up to 6 percent, the “Spider-Man” film was still a mega-hit and made 400 million dollars. Probing into the causes of this singular phenomenon, the film entrepreneurs said that when people need an escape from their daily troubles, they will think of going to the movies. The box office, hence, has become an alternative to economic indicators.